Seismic Update 10 Feb 2012

6.4 EQ in Fiji rejion, ~01:47 UTC, so ~ 8:47pm EST. Later downgraded by USGS to a 5.9. For the record, USGS does this downgrade business a lot. Like, all the damn time. I can understand being off by +/- 0.1 or 0.2, and readjusting, and every so often being off by a little more. But the Richter Scale is, to my understanding, an exponential scale, and it’s the seismographs that do most of the work. But shifts of >0.4 (I’m being generous) seem forced. If the person doing the initial reads is so often wrong, make them the coffee-boy and get someone in who can read the printouts.

I have seen a very few adjustements to a larger number, but that’s very rare. Much more common–in fact, quite common (45-50% of the time, in fact) with any quake initially rated over 6.0, is for them to be “reassessed” a few hours later and re-adjusted to 5.9, no matter what they were originally. At one point, I saw a 6.9 (that many other agencies said was more of a 7, 7.1) readjusted to a 5.9. There is a huuuuge difference between a 6.9 and a 5.9– I don’t see how any professional can make that sort of mistake. Much less be mistaking 5.9 EQs for all manner of 6.0 and higher.

For this reason, I am ever more sceptical when any EQ over 6.0 is suddenly “re-adjusted” to 5.9. (Sometimes, less than 5.9. But usually, 5.9). Yes, we’re in tin-foil-hat territory, here, but either the USGS needs to fire most of their staff for incompetence, or they need to stop playing around. They adjust far too many EQs, far too often, for my trust in their measurements.

I’ll be trying to get good links for ESMC and other geographic agencies, to get more balanced readings.

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About zmalfoy

Z. Malfoy is a practicing Catholic-with-an-"interesting"-past. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education (Spec. Voice) from Loyola University New Orleans, and has since taken a few business courses to expand her knowledge base. In her free time, she studies belly-dance, alchemy, theology, and various skills related to self-sufficiency. She also enjoys reading science fiction, refreshing her French, and watching anime. She recently started with learning Krav Maga and Russian.